Fnatic and EDward Gaming kick off series with explosive first game
The most anticipated quarterfinal series at the League of Legends World Championship pit the defending international champions against Europe’s top team, and the first game of the best-of-five tilt did not disappoint.
Fnatic and EDward Gaming put on a show, combining for 37 kills in a 38 minute game, well above the average pace at the World Championship so far using team compositions featuring surprise pocket picks, making for a game that played out like no one would have expected.
Both teams and their lauded coaches showed they came to the table with tricks up their sleeve. Fnatic opened up with another Kennen at AD carry composition, this time with a surprise Jarvan IV in the top lane, but EDward Gaming countered with something even more unexpected: an AD carry Jayce with teleport, giving the Chinese team three teleports. It was the first time Jarvan and Jayce took to the rift at Worlds this year.
Early on, the triple teleport composition proved strong for EDward Gaming. With so much global map pressure, including a Twisted Fate in the mid lane, the Chinese team set up picks across the map, building a significant gold lead.
Through 20 minute, EDward Gaming held a 2k gold lead, a mark that so far at Worlds had led to an 89 percent win rate. But like the champion select, this game bucked that trend.
At the 21 minute mark, Fnatic turned the game around by pouncing on an opportunity to fight. They pulled off a winning team fight, scoring 3 kills in exchange for 1 after catching out a couple EDward Gaming players in the river.
The triple teleport backfired for the Chinese team in that fight as Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu hit his teleport in the middle of that fight, presumably attempting to hit the Summoner Heal an AD carry typically carries in that slot. That helped Fnatic clean him up, leading to a Baron. While the remaining EDward Gaming members tried to contest, they ended up just feeding Martin “Rekkles” Larsson kills.
After a Baron power play worth nearly 5k gold, Fnatic had a commanding lead, giving them the ability to five man siege with inhibitors down on the map. EDward Gaming managed to sneak a bottom lane inhibitor of their own thanks to their global play, but that alone wouldn’t get them back in the game. They needed a big fight, and they got it at the 34 minute mark, with Fnatic sieging the final remaining inhibitor.
The Chinese team dove onto Fnatic and scored 4 kills while losing only 1 player. With their own super minions pushing through the bottom lane and a triple teleport composition, it opened a massive opportunity for the Chinese team: They could potentially teleport bottom and win the game.
But instead of Thresh chasing the retreating Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten and preventing him from backing as Tong “Koro1” Yang and Deft teleport bottom and push the nexus, all three players chased the Fnatic mid laner for nearly 20 seconds, allowing Fnatic to respawn and maintain their lead.
Minutes later, with Baron back in play, Fnatic pushed the objective as EDward Gaming desperately tried to respond. Then Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, who struggled in the laning phase but recovered when team fights began, dunked EDward Gaming into oblivion.
The lockdown combination of Jarvan IV’s Cataclysm and Slicing Maelstrom from Kennen make Viktor’s Chaos Storm deal a ridiculous amount of damage. With EDward Gaming out, Fnatic closed out the game.
Rekkles posted a 9/2/5 KDA on Kennen, with mid laner Febiven at a 5/1/0 score line. While EDward Gaming picked on Huni in the early game, he recovered with a 5/6/11 KDA. His counterpart, Koro1, playing in his first game at Worlds after sitting on the bench resting an injury, performed very well with Fiora and an 8/5/4 KDA. But it wasn't enough for EDward Gaming.
It was an exciting and action-packed first row in a best-of-five series that could prove to be one of the closest of the event. Both teams pulled out signature plays, but executed them with differing prowess. While the triple teleport worked in the early game, Deft failed to take advantage of his teleport and was even hurt by it in the mid and late game. Fnatic’s Kenne and Jarvan IV proved extremely effective despite the Chinese team harassing Fnatic’s normally indomitable top and jungle combination in the early half of the game.
But that’s only one map in a best-of-five series. Before a bug caused a remake, the second match between already features its own surprises: Zero bans on the big power picks Gangplank and Mordekaiser, leading to them clashing on the Rift.
If game one and those picks and bans are any indication, the wild ride will continue in this explosive quarterfinal matchup.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr